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“Slippery slope” of taxing the poor and shifting costs to the middle is Bradley County wheel tax dilemma

In Government on February 29, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Have you ever walked on ice? Have you ever walked on ice in dress shoes? You know the kind with no grip! Just pure leather and once it gets cold and hard it is almost impossible to stand! Now add a grade to that, attempt to stand at the top of the hill and maintain ground! Next to impossible! Right?

Well the Bradley County Commission has once again chosen to walk the slippery path instead of just simply putting their house in order! The slippery slope (Wheel tax exemptions) has been identified and it is going to be pretty much everyone that doesn’t have a job or is making under the poverty line for income, which leaves the
middle hardworking class to foot the bill!

What do I mean? Let me attempt to tell you! We are talking about the “wheel tax”, yes the same ole tax that failed a few years ago by referendum because the commission has once again chosen to put the debt on you the citizen they are supposed to protect and represent.

We are talking of tax exemptions to be exact, who is exempt from paying the wheel tax, that slippery slope, so to speak! The term used by no less than 3 commissioners and others on a few occasions. The decision to tax the poor and impoverished or tax the working class! It seems it always one or the other, not both! Pretty much the way Washington is sticking it to the working class! Either way, a new wheel tax leaves many unhappy!

Yes folks, the first vote of the commission was to tax the poor as well as the middle and the upper incomes! ” It’s a fair tax for everyone, it’s a bold move by the education committee” as Martin Ringstaff, Director of Cleveland City Schools, has been recorded as saying in past meetings.

“We have got to show the people why we need it!” , Chairman of the School Board Charlie Rose was overheard saying also.

The people, everyone, fair tax for all! That is the problem! It shows a disconnect from the people who represent us and the people who are doing the representing! With obviously no accounting for the impact a new tax has on the repressed and unfortunate in this City and County!

While researching the raw data, in this case, the US Census data, it is easy to distinguish who the poor are in Bradley County and who by County Commission vote who will end of footing the bulk of the new wheel tax! The middle class!

Here is my version of the “slippery slope !”

The data displayed below is easily confirmed by US Census data and can easily be googled for easy verification and I will even conveniently provide a few links below at the bottom of this blog.

In Bradley county we have a few more than 98,000 people in our community. The following is a breakdown of the demographic of that population according to the latest US Census data that will either be exempt or taxed heavily with a new wheel tax.

There are 23 percent that are under the age of 18 years old, of those 16 to 18 year olds probably make less than poverty level income. So, the first people attacked are the kids! Those in high school, struggling to get gas much less another 32 dollars for a wheel tax, granted a parent may go ahead and pay but the burden is still there.

14.1 percent are over the age of 65, again on fixed incomes and hating another tax bill.

16 percent in Bradley County live below the poverty level, many of which will be those with very little expendable income. 7,740 Veterans in this county! Many of which are disabled and below the poverty line or homeless.

8 percent of the county workforce are self employed, entrepreneurs or just laborers just getting by with occasional day to day work.

3.6 percent are illegal immigrants with no defineable income and no tax status whatsoever except when they consume. 1,407 live in college dorms and are probably struggling to make ends meet and have probably registered dads or moms car in another state anyway.

2 percent are either in nursing homes, in a local jail, or are in a group home or have been deemed mentally impaired.

If my math is correct this accumulates to about 60 percent of the population of Bradley County that are poor, repressed, at poverty level income, homeless or mentally incapable of making their own decisions! Roughly 60,000 people are affected and poor!

Initially, they are the ones being targeted for yet another tax. After much talk about who is exempt or not, some talk about who in the heck are we going to tax, it now appears the bullseye is hovering over the working class, the middle income earners who are trying to make their way and rely on hard work to support our families with minimal to no assistance from the government!

You may be saying not all of them drive! This tax doesnt affect them! At one point in the year all these mentioned will need a vehicle to either go to church, the grocery store, a group outing, leisure, vacation, a doctors appointment or simply a trip to the hospital and etc! They all rely on someone else for that transportation, in most cases close family or just do gooders wanting to contribute. Many of which are in the same boat as them. So fairly, it is safe to say they are all represented by a vehicle that is getting taxed!

There are 86,000 vehicle registered in Bradley County along with 3,000 motorcycles! With those numbers, you can say that roughly 70 to 80 percent of the people in Bradley County will be affected by this tax! Although many poor will be affected, in reality, most of the working class have two or more vehicles and will receive the yearly 64 to 160 dollar wheel tax bill! Most of the tax burden!

With the median home income rate of around 39,000 dollars you can see easily how another tax lifted and placed on you will further burden a “middle incomer” causing greater harm to you, while your government reaps the benefit of you punching the clock!

The Chattanoogan reported this morning and quoting Mayor Gary Davis, “the county wide wheel tax cannot happen the way it is currently written!” Mayor Davis went on to say “you want to give tax exemptions to low income elderly using the list from the trustees office, which doesn’t include them all! There are a lot of low income elderly that live in apartments, they are not property owners. I assume you want to give all low income elderly the same exemption, but it is not addressed that way in your resolution!”

Jeff Yarber referred again to that “slippery slope” again. He said, “This is that slippery slope that I was talking about. My thought processes on that was to not use the trustees list, but to use the process that the trustee has. The burden of proof falls on the individual!” Really? The burden must fall on the citizen to prove they are poor, in-firmed, repressed or homeless to be exempt from a wheel tax!

It was even suggested at one point to go ahead and tax the poor then on the backside the poor taxpayer will have to prove to the government that they are indeed poor and then they can get reimbursed! Really? This is taxation without representation! Have you ever tried to come up with 32 dollars when you don’t have it? Come on guys! Let’s get real!

Amy Moore, said “to gather names of low income elderly would require additional county staffing!” Here the door is being opened for yet another tax!

County Chairman Louie Alford added “Once you start down that slippery slope, it’s hard to get stopped!” The slippery slope started when you decided to tax the poor, the middle class in a very down economy! The slippery slope gets slicker when bureaucrats would rather tax the peasants than make the hard decisions needed to right our problem!

After last nights meeting this resolution was suggested it get referred back to the education committee then I am assuming will come back to the commission for a revised vote!

A side note! While back in the education committee I encourage you to look at why this problem of “no money” really exists in our school system! I believe if you look methodically at the problem you will find it!
Here indeed comes that slippery slope of taxing your poor in Bradley County! These folks are struggling to stay alive! To feed their 2.8 children or more is becoming a bigger and bigger chore!

My heart reaches out to these folks! They are truly in need! They need more in one day than I may need in one year! With that said, if we further exempt certain veterans, homeless, mentally challenged, poor, poverty level, illegals immigrants the burden shifts to the middle income! Me and most of you!

While compiling this data and defending the elderly and the poor I soon realized that the majority of this wheel tax will fall on the people who are broke on a different level after the numerous exemptions are made. A lose lose for all!

Many of whom after paying bills and taxes have very little in the form of spendable income! This my friends is a shift called social engineering, a tax shift to distribute income equally among the poor! Socialist call this redistribution of wealth or social justice! Many on the commission will fade away from this acknowledgement but this exactly what it is! Taking from those that have and distributing to those who have not!

Roughly 39 percent of the population in Bradley County make 100,000 down to poverty level! About 5 percent make 150,000 or more! The shift of all the taxes to this group greatly makes the burden heavier for the middle incomers and a little harder for them to provide for their own!

Don’t fool yourself to think a family income of 100,000 is alot! With college tuition rising, groceries and mortgages to include property taxes and other taxes, very little is left over once the bills have been paid!

Wealth distribution, socialism, takes from the “rich” and gives to the poor! This seems to be the expressed mantra of our elected leaders!

A tax is a tax! A slippery slope is a slippery slope no matter how you slice it! We are facing billions more in debt because of recent “growth plans” being proposed! This will not be the only tax in our near future!

This is merely a gateway tax, a tax that only opens the door for more taxes! This in my opinion is where the slope gets really slippery! Many hard working taxpayers and citizens start slipping down that “slippery slope” of poverty because of the government placing tax after tax on it’s wage earners! One tax may not tip the scale of a middle incomer into the poverty ranks, but one thing for sure is eventually the steady stream of new taxes will eventually tilt the scale and begin the fall of a hardworking citizen. Soon, that taxpayer is punch drunk and lying on their backs looking up to the government for a handout! This is true socialism Bradley Countians! Burden the free citizen till they slip and fall, while being forced to cry out to the ones who just cut both hands off, you have socialism perfected!

The schools are asking for a few new classrooms, a new school or two and past debt in the amount of around 30 million, the city will get their share of about 12 million to help build another school, my goodness will it ever stop!

We have a school board that allows students from surrounding counties and a few states to go to school here in Bradley County, why don’t we restrict the students to the schools they are zoned for and I bet we won’t have such a big problem! I would safely say hundreds of kids are in our system that don’t belong there!

My issue is this, it seems ok to absorb all these out of state and county students till you start asking the citizens to pay for another counties financial burden with more taxes!

City Councilman Bill Estes summed this whole situation up pretty well, he said ” A wheel tax is unbelieveably regressive and hurts the poor!” But he went on to advocate for a property tax.

County Commissioner Ed Elkins has said “people are saying they would rather have a property tax than a wheel tax!”

To all listening, the majority of Bradley Countians and Clevelanders are tired of paying more and more taxes! We are tax heavy! Great percentages of our income is taxed and Bradley County is not making it any easier on us to live here!

I challenge each and everyone of you to rethink any new taxes! We are in a down economy and most everyone is struggling! The debt that education is placing on it’s citizens cannot be carried much longer. A 60 plus million dollar education debt is enough! The debt burden on the horizon in the billions will only get larger as we shift costs to the massive growth plan already in the works!

Let’s simply ask the schools to look into why they are in such debt and spending unwisely! Let’s ask them why is it that no matter what amount of money we spend on our schools we get the same mediocre results? I believe the answer is easily out in the open if someone dare look!

Let’s get all our houses in order! We are out of control! It is time we get people in office to do the work that will not be done by the ones we have chosen to represent us! The time is right!

We must take steps to save our county, put our children’s future in sight and say any decisions must be well thought out and the first response should not be to raise taxes on the poor and not shift that cost to the middle class!

NO NEW TAXES, LESS GOVERNMENT, MORE FREEDOM!

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  1. There are Lots of kids from the surrounding counties of McMinn, Meigs,Polk, Hamilton, etc that attend all of our schools either for athletic reasons or their parents work here, or they have been kicked out of their county schools. We, on the other hand, except anyone to load up our classroom to get the so craved federal funding dollar. What would happen if we sent all of these kids to their “own” county school. Someone told me they recently bought a home in just over the line into Hamilton county but has already been told that their kids can go to Hopewell because a family member works there, and its not overcrowded. That is the problem that exist here, while the elected officals and school board have the either audicity or ignorance to not enforce the current laws to protect us, of which they were sworn to, but to ask us to pay more than our fair taxes to educate our own children now we must also educate others children for the desire orconvience of that family. Meanwhile that family not only gets to not pay the wheel tax but also not have their property taxes missmanaged by incompetent greedy elected officals. Basically we punish those working and living in Bradley county.

    Besides, didn’t we just vote in a increase in sales tax to pay for schools. That is how it was sold to us by elected officials attending PTA meetings stating that “we needed a science wing and other school projects you know for the kids.” Maybe if we were’nt in the Industrial park business for 6 million, the airport business for 20-40 million, the create a downtown area convention center for millions, the give the sale of the hospital money to the United Way which in turn gives it to the Mosaic center then to the Montasori school ( you know the one being built on the Spring Creek development for underprividged kids costing 600.00 a month tuition, run by the wife of the guy that runs the Mosaic center,you know the one that does the ESL classes that drives the foreigners to “check into cashing” their checks to a certain business since they can’t open a bank account ,you know, the one the Chamber brought in to teach us what to say and how not to offend the Germans coming here), so the German kids can go to Saturday School,if it weren’t for all that then we might be able to afford to pay for OUR kids with the current money that is taken in with property taxes.
    But that was just a thought. And since we will all be encouraged to ride bikes with the new comprehensive plan or walk how is the wheel tax to apply? Does it include a Bike license now also? They have wheels too, wheel chairs, etc, sliding on down that hill. Maybe that is next.

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    • Daaaang not deceived you seem so in the know! I am hearing some 200 or so kids are in our schools and are forcing a wheel tax to build 8 different classes with our tax dollars! They are coming in from Ala, Ga and other surrounding counties! I’m hearing even more now that the big industries are bringing in and employing everyone but Bradley countians! We are also forgiving the big “selected” corps of the PILOT money that was being touted to be used for education, when I questioned many from the Commission on this they said we never heard it was going to be used for education! That’s what many of you said when we were recruiting these businesses! I’m sure it’s on video or audio somewhere! Time to clean house!

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  2. If any of these tax and spend school board/commissoners think that this wheel tax will pass you are fooling yourselfs because you are going to see a fight like you never have and you better look out come the next election because we are coming for you !!!!!!

    In Liberty Dan

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  3. So the School Board has proposed a wish list to the County Commission and the Commission has apparently concluded that a wheel tax or property tax increase will be needed to raise the 25 million or so to support the wish list. What I would like to see is the “expected outcomes” for spending that much money. I don’t mean whining about what will happen if the school board is not funded to their satisfaction but what positive outcomes can be expected such as increased graduation rates, increased TCAP scores, increased math scores, etc. Perhaps I missed the justification phase in this drama but if I didn’t, the Commission should demand the justification and make it available to the public at large.

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    • Excellent point! A trade off! You get x amount of money in exchange you produce x or the money is cut off or it goes immediately to pay off debt till grades meet x standard! That does put some responsibility with the request! I somehow don’t think they would go for it anyway! That’s too much responsibility! I like it!

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